With the fast approach of the 2012 holiday season, many of us continue to scramble for that perfect gift. However, when it comes to children, the task is even harder, since the marketplace is flooded with a variety of different toys and new offerings. So when my wife and I were told by our daughter that her three girls would like the Just Dance 3 game for their Nintendo Wii, we were eager to see just how good this game would be.

Of course, as novices to this particular game, we were anxious for the girls to introduce us to its basics. For those of you who, like us, are novices, the Just Dance games are just like the title claims: dance games in which one is reminded of an advanced version of the old Richard Simmons exercise dance tapes. By advanced, I mean your motions are actually shown on screen where each dancer, or group of dancers, are scored by their performance. So is the Just Dance 3 game fun for children?

Just Dance 3 for the Nintendo Wii: a ReviewTo answer that question, let me tell you about our experience. The evening that we arrived, the three girls — ages 13, 11, and eight, along with a seven-year-old girl friend — had the game installed within minutes, after which they put on a performance for us. These kids were having a blast and for the most part, expending an enormous amount of energy while following the moves like professionals.

However, this game was not just for the kids as it was not long before their parents, not to be outdone, took the stage where they proved that they were able to hold their own against the youngsters. But what we really found enjoyable was the experience of seeing the family bond that this game helped to reinforce as they laughed and bumped into each other while attempting to follow the onscreen antics.

Another advantage of the tape is that there are over 45 different tracks with different dance steps and songs available (heck, I even recognized Aretha Franklin’s song), so there is something for everyone, no matter what their musical tastes may be. After the kids and parents finished their performances for us, we asked what they liked about Just Dance 3.

Just Dance 3 for the Nintendo Wii: a ReviewThey all said that, in their opinion, the graphics and music selections were better, which concurred with my thoughts after listening to the prior versions. However, like with any review, there are also some cons to the game. The main con I see is that the performance could be improved if it were equal in performance to the Kinect for the Xbox 360. The difference revolves around what is recorded by the game console you are using. With the Wii, only the hand that controls the movement of your arm is actually recorded, while your other arm and legs are not — meaning that they are not included in the performance score. The Xbox 360 Kinect, on the other hand, will include all of your body parts in the scoring process. However, neither the kids nor parents using the Wii’s program seemed to mind this discrepancy. They just seemed to enjoy dancing their butts off.

So what makes Just Dance 3 a winner? The answer is simple. It is just plain fun.

Comments welcome.